Franklin County Judge John W. Keller passes away

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Judge John W. Keller, of Waynesboro, died peacefully on April 19, 2012.  He had been residing at Penn Hall in Chambersburg, and was critically ill for several weeks.  

Judge Keller, known as “Jack” or “Kelly” by his close friends, was born in Waynesboro March 15, 1927 to Eva (Nicodemus) Keller and Niemond F. Keller, a Waynesboro attorney. His grandfather was Jeremiah Keller, a Judge in Juniata County.

Judge Keller was a graduate of Waynesboro High School in 1944, where he was co-captain of the football team.  He began dating his future wife, Margaret “Peggy” or “Margie” (Etchberger) Keller, after she defeated him in the election for Class President.  After high school, he served in the United States Army through the remainder of World War II, following which he went on to graduate from Gettysburg College in 1948.

Judge Keller graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 1951 and began his legal career in practice with his father in Waynesboro, as the law firm of Keller and Keller.  Judge Keller held numerous public positions, including Borough Attorney of Waynesboro and Solicitor for Franklin County.  He served on numerous community service boards, including President of the Waynesboro Area School Authority, as President of the Board of Directors of the Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, as a Director of the Waynesboro Industrial Development Authority, as a Director of the Waynesboro YMCA, and as a Director of the Franklin County Bar Association and of the Pennsylvania Borough Solicitors Association.  Judge Keller was especially active in Renfrew, Inc. and with Renfrew Park, Waynesboro.  

He was an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, where he served on the Church Council and as a Sunday School teacher.  

Judge Keller was elected as a delegate to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, which rewrote the Commonwealth's Constitution in 1967-1968.  

He was appointed Judge of the 39th Judicial District by Governor Shafer in 1968, and was subsequently elected and then retained until his retirement in 1992.  Thereafter, he served as a Senior Judge.      

Judge Keller is survived by two sons, John N. Keller and his wife, Martha Dudley Keller, and David S. Keller and his wife, Dawn Fischetti Keller, all of Waynesboro; his three beloved grandchildren, Alexis Keller Sheard and her husband Rod of Mae Sot, Thailand, John Belding “Jeb” Keller of Waynesboro and Katherine Ann Keller of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in Evangelical Lutheran Church, 43 S. Church St., Waynesboro, with the Rev. Dennis Beaver officiating.

Burial will follow in Green Hill Cemetery, Waynesboro.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 in Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home, 50 S. Broad Street, Waynesboro.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a tree be planted in memory and honor of Judge Keller or memorial contributions be made to The Margaret E. Keller Endowment Fund, C/O Renfrew Institute, 1010 E. Main St., Waynesboro, PA 17268 or the charity of one's choice.

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